Revelation 13:16–17 tell us: “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” What is the mark of the beast?
In the ancient Roman world, slaves and soldiers were often branded or marked in some way so they could be identified. Some pagan religions also required their followers to be marked. Evidently, Antichrist will also have a similar requirement. The mark probably will not be a brand or tattoo, but something more hi-tech, such as a computer chip. Those without this mark will not be able to buy or to sell. Evidently, the Antichrist will have control over the economy. Having his mark will be necessary to carry out any kind of transaction.
The mark of the beast is the satanic counterpart to the “sealing” of tribulation saints in Revelation 7:2–4. Just as the 144,000 were marked on their foreheads to receive divine protection, so in Revelation 13 unbelievers are marked to receive the protection of the Antichrist. Those who take the mark are saying to God and the world: “I identify with the Antichrist. He will save and protect me.”
Taking the mark of the beast involves one in the worship of the beast. Obviously, there will be many who will not want to worship the beast. Consequently, they will pay with their lives. Revelation 20:4 explains: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
Great numbers of faithful believers will refuse to take the mark of the beast and, consequently, they will be beheaded. These faithful tribulation martyrs will be resurrected when the Lord returns to establish His kingdom at the end of the tribulation, and will reign with Him during the millennium. According to Revelation 20:4, “they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
However, I don’t believe it would be wrong for a Christian to take a computer chip in their hand or forehead. There is a lot of discussion about “chipping” people in the military, as well as little children and others who may have a tendency to wander off and get lost. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with such a chip. Revelation 13:15 says, “as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” The key issue is worship. The mark is simply a vehicle to force people to declare their allegiance to the Antichrist. Not everyone who takes some kind of a chip is worshipping the Antichrist.